Billie Jean King backs calls to rename Margaret Court Arena

Billie Jean King backs calls to rename Margaret Court Arena

King, who herself won 12 major titles and faced Court in the 1969 Australian Open final, said she had initially been supportive of the decision to name the stadium in Court's honor. I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible.

'I was fine until lately when she said so many derogatory things about my community - I'm a gay woman - and that really went deep in my heart and soul.

"I personally don't think she should have (her name on the stadium) anymore", King said, echoing a growing sentiment that began to emerge previous year after Court threatened to boycott Qantas airlines because of its support for marriage equality.

Meanwhile, King, who just this week attended the Golden Globe Awards for the film Battle of the Sexes, about her famed match with self-professed male chauvinist pig Bobby Riggs, is attending the Australian Open for the first time in eight years.

"I have my name on the whole facility in the US [the US Open is played at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center] and every time I see my name up there I can hardly breathe because of the responsibility".

Organizers have recognized the American tennis great as the Australian Open Woman of the Year and launched its "Open4All" initiative to promote equality, diversity and inclusion to coincide with King's visit.

"When you were named after Margaret Court, it seemed like the right thing to do", Navratilova explained in her.

King and Court were rivals during their playing days, during which they won 36 singles Grand Slams between them.

King said a series of comments made by Court about the LGBTI community were simply unacceptable. Court also has called transgender children the work of "the devil".

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The furor over Court's views led to suggestions that some players would boycott the Margaret Court Arena at Monday's opening Grand Slam unless the flagship stadium at Melbourne Park was renamed.

When the arena was named after Court in 2003, King supported it.

There were concerns that players at the Australian Open might refuse to play in the venue baring Court's name.

In 2017 Martina Navratilova, who came out as a lesbian after she was outed as bisexual in the 1980s, wrote an open letter urging the city of Melbourne to change the name of the Court Arena.

He said there had been "conversation" among stakeholders of Melbourne Park regarding the issue, but there was no process in place to change the name of the stadium.

Unfortunately, the arena can not be named after King as the facility that hosts the United States Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., was christened the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2006.

The Perth-based Court said she would instead head to her holiday home and watch the tennis on television, while indulging her hobby of catching crabs.

"You can have discussion around it".

"When Rocket, Rod Laver, got given the arena, I said 'what are you going to do for Margaret?'"

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